President Donald Trump has made strict immigration enforcement the central policy of his administration as well as his “America First” brand of conservative populism.
Despite a slew of recent criticisms from President Trump himself, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is of a similar mind when it comes to America’s immigration crisis. Recently, AG Sessions sent out pointed letters to four “sanctuary cities” and their supporters for “protecting criminals from immigration enforcement” and “making all of us less safe,” according to a release from the Department of Justice.
Sessions and the Justice Department are not just giving America’s sanctuary cities a tongue-lashing; America’s top cop has made a bold and decisive move to clamp down on those municipalities, counties, and states that tell their law enforcement officials not to cooperate with federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Mr. Sessions announced on Thursday that the Justice Department would begin withholding Byrne Justice Assistance Grants to sanctuary cities. These federal grants provide a majority of the funding that cities and states receive in order to increase their criminal justice efforts.
If cities want to have these grants reinstated, they must agree to allow Department of Homeland Security officials access to all apprehension and arrest records of suspected illegal immigrants. Furthermore, DHS must be warned two days in advance if a local jail is planning on releasing an illegal alien criminal.
The anti-Trump Left has already tried to spin this measure as an “attack” on American federalism. Unfortunately for the Left, their pro-immigration sympathies are increasingly unpopular with the American electorate.
In a poll conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies in November, 2016, 54% of Americans agreed with the assertion that “too little effort” is being done to enforce America’s immigration laws. This same poll found that 58% of respondents also agreed with the idea that employers should require employees to prove their legal status before being hired.
Even more telling, numbers in another poll show that 32% of American voters support the idea of cutting immigration numbers in half. Twenty-two percent want a total halt to yearly immigration. While 68% of those polled identified as Republicans, 45% of Democrats polled also supported more stringent immigration policies, according to Breitbart.
This week, the Trump administration further showed their serious commitment to immigration reform by announcing the creation of the RAISE Act. This bill promises to cut annual immigration numbers in half. Plus, it promises to remove the old system that has allowed millions of immigrants to flood America’s streets since the passage of the Hart-Cellar Act in 1965.
Last night, in front of a raucous crowd in Huntington, West Virginia, President Trump promised that the RAISE Act would force new immigrants to remain off of welfare for four years. Similarly, President Trump told the crowd that the RAISE Act would favor those immigrants who already speak English.
Sanctuary city policies under former President Barack Obama attracted millions of undocumented immigrants to the United States. Is Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ warning a sign of things to come?
Judging from the crowd’s reaction, the RAISE Act is very popular with Trump’s base. In 2016, West Virginia, a historically Democrat state, voted unanimously for Trump.
In the midst of various scandals, such as the ongoing drama involving Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation, the Trump administration seems dead set on passing the first major legislation to curtail the excesses of America’s immigration system.